Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Recovery Challenges

A former client who left a few weeks ago reports having trouble adjusting to his new life outside the structure of TLC.  Though he hasn't relapsed he says he’s having a lot of "indecision and insecurity."

While I'm not sure this client left too soon - because he completed his 90-day commitment - sometimes three months isn't enough for many of us.

Often we come into recovery after years of trashing our lives with drugs and alcohol. It took us a long time to get to the state we’re in by the time we finally become desperate enough to seek help.

Yet when we’re in the sterile structure of a halfway house - with its restrictions and sometimes uncomfortable living conditions – nothing seems as attractive as being back home in our own place.

However,  the problem is that recovery is rarely about externals like living conditions, jobs, or being back with friends.

Recovery is about learning to live life on life’s terms wherever we are. It’s about learning to fill that hole in our spirit with positive things we learned in recovery. It’s about learning to say no when we’re at wits end and feel like picking up a bottle or going to the dope house.

I can easily relate. When I first went to a halfway house 22 years ago the idea was to get a job, a car, a girlfriend, an apartment and get back into the fast lane of life.

I wanted to leave that halfway house because there was no privacy. Living conditions weren’t the greatest. I didn’t have the kind of freedom I thought I needed.

But I ended up staying a year because I realized I wasn't totally prepared to live on my own.  It was the best investment of time I ever made.